“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”
– Martin Luther King
We’ve talked about many things both good and ill. I don’t know, however, if there is anything more terrible and destructive to be discussed than the subject of hatred. Hatred is a pure and unadulterated apparition of the most destructive, cold, and useless emotions a person can experience. Unfortunately, it’s also frightfully common in a world that increasingly doesn’t know their fellow man. What better subject to discuss on St. Valentine’s Day than that which is the precise opposite of love?
If living and thriving is about opening your life and mind to the possibility of the world around you, then hatred is about closing yourself to the same. The act of hatred is compelling. When you truly hate something or some one, you commit gross amounts of time to the task of imagining the worst that you might help to bring about. But what would you ever possibly hope to gain from this sort of behavior? Just as importantly, how would you possibly believe this thinking can improve your life in any way?
While there are many great and terrible things in life, actual hatred is nothing but destructive to every person on any side of it. It’s a natural desire that we, as a result of our egos and fears, must actively work against lest we be trapped within it. Perhaps it’s as simple as this: the next time you feel this kind of anger towards something, take a deep breath. Remember that your day will be the result of the experiences you have; if you spend your energy anxiously plotting against something, you’ll feel the result of it.
Instead of giving into these dark feelings, I challenge you to turn your emotions around entirely. A person consumed by hatred is someone worthy of sympathy and pity. While choosing not to be a victim yourself, look beyond yourself and feel compassion for the individual who has inspired your own hatred. Remember that they are a person, too, and their emotions have clouded their own judgment to an extent which impairs the ability to function rationally and decently..
What’s truly interesting to me is that hatred almost always seems to be rooted in fear: fear of losing, fear of failing, or fear of something else entirely. We almost always find ourselves here as a result of some perceived threat to our own egos. Live your life based on merit and take this chance to practice acceptance. Things will be as they will be; all anyone can give is their best.
Today is a day to celebrate love towards others. If you have a broken relationship in your life, I urge you to take the high road and offer an olive branch. Some connections may be worn beyond repair, but most of hatred is the result of misunderstanding – so be the one to make an effort to understand. Just as importantly, if you have love in your life, focus your attentions there rather than dwelling in darkness. Make it your goal today to tell someone that you love them – and maybe share the sentiment with yourself as well.
Thank you for your time.